By now, you’ve probably at least heard of TMZ at some point. In case you haven’t, TMZ is a blog that covers all the latest celebrity gossip and news. The blog has exploded in popularity, earning thousands of comments each day. In fact, the blog got so popular that TMZ now has a nightly TV show covering the latest news and paparazzi videos.
Now, you might be saying to yourself: What does TMZ have to do with my blog? I don’t cover celebrities or silly gossip.
That’s fine. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn anything from the way TMZ approaches blogging. Here are just some of the lessons you can gain by following TMZ.
Lesson #1: It’s all in the headline
The importance of a good headline can’t be overstated. No matter what niche you’re in, there are other blogs, podcasts, and articles pulling at your reader’s attention. You need to stand out from the crowd and hook readers to draw them in. A great headline can help you do this.
Consider TMZ. The headlines on this blog are successful for a few reasons. They’re interesting, short, and a combination of clear and clever.
Here are just some of the top headlines I see when I visit TMZ right now.
Lindsay Lohan—I don’t need prison or rehab
Kobe Bryant—Six-figure silent treatment
Michael Madsen: Little Crazy? Yes. Suicidal? No!
Daisy Fuentes: Good Genes or Good Docs?
For people who are interested in celebrity news and gossip, these headlines are like magnets. You almost can’t help but click on them to find out the details of the story.
You need to create the same sense of interest with your headlines.
Lesson #2: Be timely
One of the top reasons TMZ has gotten so popular is their propensity for being the first to break a story. The TMZ photogs seem to be everywhere, getting exclusive shots and details on stories that even the top networks don’t have yet. TMZ was the first place where most people heard about Michael Jackson being rushed to the hospital and ultimately passing away. Most mainstream media was hesitant to confirm the story, but TMZ had inside sources and scooped the competition.
TMZ was also the website to first break the story of Mel Gibson getting arrested for driving under the influence and making anti-Semitic comments during his arrest, and they were the first to break the report of actress Brittany Murphy’s death late last year.
The point is TMZ is always covering the latest topics. Even when they aren’t the first to break a story, they have a knack for going into deeper detail and offering a unique perspective that no one else sees.
Lesson #3: Humor is your friend
TMZ isn’t mean spirited, but they do poke fun at the ridiculous things celebrities say and do. People love to laugh, and it’s one of the things that attracts readers back to TMZ.com and to the TV show day in and day out.
The TMZ website has a very distinctive voice that is edgy, sarcastic, and gets people talking. It’s important for you to also create an identity as a blogger.
Lesson #4: Know your stuff
You can’t fake your way through blogging because sooner or later, you’ll slip up, and when you do, your readers will call you out and never let you forget it. The bottom line is if you want to position yourself as a trusted resource, you need to know your stuff inside and out. You need to always be learning new things so you can know more than your competition.
Here, TMZ succeeds. They seem to know every single detail about all celebrities, from the A-listers to the Z-listers. Like them or not, TMZ is one of the authorities when it comes to Hollywood and celebrities.
Lesson #5: Make your blog interactive
TMZ is known for including polls in many of their posts, hosting contests, and even having fun games visitors can play. They understand that the more interactive their blog is, the longer visitors will stay and the more connected they’ll feel to the brand.
What are some things you can do to make your blog more interactive?